The food and drink you have at your wedding reception, takes up a huge amount of your overall reception budget. Guests love to party and celebrate your wedding, but they also need to be adequately sustained during your day. This also gives you a perfect opportunity to share your personality and style, as well as tying everything into a set theme.
Although most guests just want the food to be good and plentiful, planning what food and drink to provide can be a bit of a headache, so here’s some tips to help make it easier.
Know your numbers
Both financially and guest-wise. These will help you narrow down your options, as well as help highlight what space you need, should you decide on buffet and self-serve options.
Clarify dietary requirements in advance
If possible, give your caterer plenty of notice about any known dietary requirements for your guests. When you send out the wedding invitations, include a copy of your menu and a note to let you know of any requirements, before the big day. However, as a backup, always include a vegetarian option in your menu.
Decide what drinks will be provided by the bridal party
Usually this can involve an initial arrival drink, plus a classic red and white wine option during the meal, followed by a sparkling option for the toasts. It’s also worth adding bottles of still and sparking water, as well as a soft drink option, for those who don’t drink.
Remember to factor in corkage fees, as most venues will charge this on a per-bottle basis.
Don’t have an open bar, unless you have the budget to adequately cover it!
If you do decide to go for the open bar option, decide if it involves liqueurs & spirits, or just beer, wine and soft drinks. Also consider limiting the time it is open, to help keep costs down.
Can guests bring their own drinks?
Not all venues will allow guests to bring their own drinks, so make sure to check this out, prior to sending out your invitations and menus.
What type of meal would you prefer: Sit-down meal?
A sit-down meal will always be more expensive than a buffet option, so bear this in mind if you’re on a budget. However, you can keep costs down, by limiting your numbers, cutting down on the courses, or cutting down on the provided drinks.
Another point to consider is whether you want it ready plated, self-service at a central location, a central location with waiter service, or bought out and served to you by waiters, whilst you’re seated.
What type of meal would you prefer: Buffet food?
Cheaper than a sit-down meal, this is great for the budget-conscious wedding couple. Again, you can opt to have a buffet meal where guests help themselves, or you may prefer to have waiters serving the food to your guests, as they arrive at the buffet table.
It’s also worth checking if a venue allows the use of outside caterers, if you’re thinking of using your own. Alternatively, why not go down the take-out option – and get your favourite take-away restaurant to deliver!
Cake cutting, champagne toasts etc. If you’re opting for additional extras, make sure you check what fees are involved.